Symba: The Go-To Platform for New Hire Readiness
Empower your new hires to reach their full potential from Day 0, and fast-track preboarding to productivity.
  • Improve administrative efficiencies by up to 99.7%
  • Reduce time-to-onboard by 50%
  • Increase early career new hire conversion rates by up to 20%


#OpenUpTheWorkforce With Apprenticeships Featuring Jamie Belt, Apprenticeship Program Manager at Kellogg

Written by Ellen Zhang on August 14, 2023
4 min read

Sponsored by Symba, #OpenUpTheWorkforce With Apprenticeships is a new mini series exploring the impact and inner workings of apprenticeship programs, and why they’re a critical vehicle for workforce development and inclusion, diversity, and equity.

In our inaugural episode, Ellen Zhang, CMO at Symba, speaks with Jamie Belt, Apprenticeship Program Manager at The Kellogg Company about their newly launched program. Listen to the full episode here.

An urgent need to build pipeline for skilled trades

When Jamie first started at Kellogg, she was a recruiter for skilled trades; it didn’t take long for her to notice that “there was a need for pipelining talent into that space.” She emphasizes that only a small percentage of high school students are going into skilled trades or would even consider a career in skilled trades, and a large percentage of the workforce that exists in these roles are getting ready to retire within the next 10 to 15 years. Putting it simply, “the demand has never been higher for [talent], and the supply has never been lower.” So when the role for an Apprenticeship Program Manager was created, Jamie raised her hand. 

While building out the program, Jamie leveraged these alarming industry statistics to create urgency and get buy-in. “So looking at those types of statistics, also looking at just the amount of openings that we had in the skilled trade space within just Kellogg, our recruiting team is doing a great job and we were keeping up but it was kind of like, how can we get again to that next level where we're not just constantly filling the roles, but we're figuring out how can we be ahead and over hiring and developing the talent so that by the time the next opening happens, we already have that person trained up?”

Senior leadership, plant leadership, and existing experienced skilled trade workers were important to get buy-in from since apprenticeships are a substantial investment. She mentions that, “It's always an adjustment to get to the proactive versus the reactive mindset when it comes to talent.” She was lucky to have innovative thinkers at the company become champions and advocates of the apprenticeship program to influence and get others on board. 

Get people excited about skilled trade careers at a young age, and don’t forget the parents

Kellogg reaches out to over 60 high schools through their Ohio community college network. Why? Jamie highlights that reaching talent in middle and high school is key to raising awareness about opportunities in skilled trades, especially for individuals who don’t think that the four-year college route is for them or don't want to necessarily go straight into a job and would like some sort of training or specific skill set. “It's very important that they are matched up with those types of opportunities because they are out there, right?” She also notes that it’s important to educate the parents “because that's your circle of trust, your parents and your school counselors, teachers.”

Kellogg’s program is currently in its early stages, with the primary goal of establishing success stories. However, a long-term objective is to set ambitious targets around equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI). Jamie is excited about the program’s potential to help historically underrepresented talent, which is why she emphasizes the importance of starting outreach at a younger age. “That's really the goal is that as you get younger, and you kind of widen your scope, I would say as the funnel coming in, you're going to have more and more luck with getting a diverse set of talent coming into these types of programs.”

The burden of apprenticeships for skilled trades needs to be low

Skilled trades have a stigma of being a “lesser type of work,” especially by the younger generations. Apprenticeship leaders in the space need to make sure that the path to skilled trades isn’t a burden by paying their apprentices competitive wages and emphasizing that these are great opportunities to launch a career.

“[Skilled trades] are such a crucial part of whatever operation you're in. Without our maintenance folks, we can't create Pop Tarts, we can't make Cheez-Its that day. So you want to make sure that you value them the same way that you would value, again, an intern or anyone on the professional side to make sure that it's worth their while as well.”

Jamie also mentions that employers need to work together to get more talent into the skilled trades pipeline. “I definitely want the greatest talent for Kellogg. But I think it's really important that we also look at it as if you win, I win when it comes to this…it's still worth your while to get in front of a group of students and tell them, hey, go into skilled trades, I don't care where you end up, right, because you're just increasing the talent pool for all of us in general.”

Check out the full episode to hear how Jamie and her team recruited their apprentices through a national tour, how they’re getting Gen Z excited about skilled trades and the food and beverage industry, partnerships that were crucial to getting the program launched, and more.

About Jamie Belt

Jamie Belt is currently the Apprenticeship Program Manager at the Kellogg Company. Initially, she was a recruiter who supported skilled trades and supply chain talent. Prior to Kellogg she spent 3 years at SpartanNash where she developed and managed an internship program. Jamie’s diverse background uniquely positions her to bridge the gap between identifying skills shortages and developing effective programs to address them. Her comprehensive understanding of talent needs, coupled with her expertise in program development, enables her to create innovative solutions that effectively creates pipeline talent for tough to fill roles. She currently holds a Bachelor’s degree in Supply Chain and Human Resources from Grand Valley State University and is working towards obtaining a Masters degree in Global Business from Purdue University.




You can view other episodes of #OpenUpTheWorkforce here. Are you an apprenticeship leader and want to be featured? Email and show us how you #OpenUpTheWorkforce With Apprenticeships.

Don't Forget to Share the Article

Ellen Zhang

Ellen is the Chief Marketing Officer at Symba. Prior to Symba, Ellen worked in the cybersecurity industry, marketing data loss prevention (DLP) and cyber insurance solutions. She graduated from Boston College with a degree focused on Marketing and Information Systems.

Related Articles

Subscribe to the Symba Blog

Get best practices and actionable tips for new hire readiness, early careers, and DEI straight to your inbox.

© 2021 Symba. All Rights Reserved | Privacy Policy
Back to Top
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram